Pinterest is useful for plenty of things: planning your fake wedding, meal prepping in an effort to get you out of your £10 salad-a-day habit. But if you're using it to search for your next haircut or a new lipstick shade to try, you might find yourself staring at a sea of white women. Sure, you might have an entire board dedicated to Janelle Monáe's hair accessories, but your search results for "braided updos" will still yield pages of Lauren Conrad in milkmade braids.
But today, two years after bringing Candice Morgan onboard to oversee diversity and inclusion within the company, the online, photo-sharing platform is introducing its first step toward creating a more diverse online community with a new search tool. When you type a keyword — pink lipstick, short hair, smoky eyes — four circles will appear ahead of the additional keyword suggestion tab. Click one and the results will narrow down its images to that specific range of skin tones.
Before, women of colour would have to add several detailed keywords before they could find what they were looking for — and the more specific keywords added, the fewer results they would get. Now, there's the option to find makeup and hairstyles worn by women that actually look like you. Like any new online tool, there are still some kinks. Search for "nail art" or "nude nail polish" and the first page of results will still feature a vast variety of fair, porcelain, vanilla skin — without the skin tone feature anywhere to be found.
This new feature is a huge step for a site so often associated with white audiences, specifically white women. A 2015 Pew Research Center survey shows that about one-third (32%) of Pinterest's users are white, compared to 21% Hispanic and 12% Black. With a clear effort to incorporate more inclusive results, Pinterest could also find a spike in the user demographic, thus leading to a wider variety in the kind of images pinned. Pinterest also tells Refinery29 that this particular improvement on the search tool comes as a response to user feedback, so if there's something you think the site is missing, speak up. They're listening — it might just take a while.